PAWLENTY EYES 2012, WON’T SEEK THIRD TERM…. For someone who wants to run for president in 2012, this is probably the right move.

Two sources have confirmed that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will announce that he will not seek re-election in 2010.

The sources confirmed to WCCO-TV political reporter Pat Kessler that the announcement about Pawlenty’s future plans will include an announcement that he will not seek a third term.

Pawlenty is probably best known to national political observers as the governor John McCain passed over for Sarah Palin when selecting a running mate for the GOP ticket last year.

Pawlenty has made no secret of his national ambitions, and by skipping next year’s race, the governor will be able to work as a full-time presidential candidate with no day job.

It’s likely that Pawlenty took note of the fact that his popularity has waned of late, and an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign next year would have doomed his chances in 2012.

As for the impact on the Coleman-Franken matter, Pawlenty would have likely been more inclined to intervene if he was running for a third term — he’d need to prove to Minnesotans that he was above the fray and could be an honest broker. But if the next set of folks Pawlenty has to impress is Republican presidential primary voters, look for the governor to back Coleman’s efforts indefinitely.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.